Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Charles City County, VA Early Records

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_City_County,_Virginia

Charles Cittie (sic) was one of four "boroughs" or "incorporations" created by the Virginia Company in 1619. It was named for Prince Charles, second son of King James I of England, who became the Duke of Wales and heir apparent after the death of his older brother Henry in 1612. He later became King Charles I of England after his father's death.

The Virginia Company lost its charter in 1624 under King James I, and Virginia became a royal colony. Charles City Shire was formed in 1634 in the Virginia Colony by order of the King. Its name was changed to Charles City County in 1643, and it is considered one the five original shires in Virginia which are still extant in essentially the same political entity (county) as they were originally formed in 1634.

The original central city of the county was Charles City Point, which was in an area south of the James River at the confluence of the Appomattox River. The first Charles City County courthouses were located along the James River at Westover and at City Point. The latter's name was shortened from Charles City Point.

All of the original area of Charles City County south of the James River was severed beginning in 1703 to form Prince George and several other counties. The incorporated town of City Point in Prince George County was annexed by the independent city of Hopewell in 1923.
North of the river, the area remained Charles City County. During the ninteenth century, numerous crossroad communities developed to serve the religious, educational and mercantile needs of the citizenry of rural Charles City County. Crossroad communities, such as Adkins Store, Cedar Grove, Binns Hall, Parrish Hill, Ruthville and Wayside, typically included a store, church and school.

In modern times, there is actually no "Charles City", or any centralized city or town, in the county. Charles City Court House, which has a Charles City postal address, is the focal point of government. The building which serves as the courthouse was constructed in the 1750s and is one of only five courthouses in America that have been in continuous use for judicial purposes since before the Revolutionary War. [1]

Native Americans
The Chickahominy River (pronounced chick-a-hom-a-nee) which forms much of the county's eastern and northern borders, is named after the Native American people who still inhabit the region. Chickahominy means "coarse pounded corn people". At the time of the earliest English settlement, the Chickahominy people existed surrounded by the powerful Powhatan Confederacy of which they were not a part. [2]

A substantial number of Native Americans of the Chickahominy and the Eastern Chickahominy tribes (both groups recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia) still live in the county. The Chickahominy tribe is the second largest Native American tribe in Virginia with just under a thousand members.[3] The Eastern Chickahominy tribe is much smaller, with about 130 members.

African Americans
During the late 17th century, African slave labor quickly replaced white indentured servitude as the major source of agricultural labor in the Virginia Colony. Twenty-three black slaves were known to have been brought to Charles City County before 1660. [4]

The earliest record of a free-black living in Charles City County is on September 16, 1677 when Susannah petitioned the court for her freedom. The Lott Cary House in the county has long been recognized as the birth site of Lott Carey. Lott Cary bought his freedom and ultimately became a founding father of the new country of Liberia in Africa. After the American Revolutionary War, during the following three decades, the large Quaker community in Charles City freed their slaves and greatly added to the free-black population of the County. [5]

The unincorporated town of Ruthville was the central point of the county's free African American population for many years, even before the American Civil War (1861-1865). Following emancipation, the crossroads community included the Mercantile Cooperative Company and Ruthville Training School. The United Sorgham Growers Club also met here. Earlier known by several other names, the name "Ruthville" recalls local resident Ruth Brown. Her name was selected when the Post Office was established there in 1880.
During Reconstruction, various societies, such as the Odd Fellows Lodge, Knights of Gideon, Order of St. Lukes and the Benevolent Society, were active in solving common problems. In 1971, James Bradby became the first black Virginian to win the office of County Sheriff in Charles City County. [6]
Charles City County, Virginia Wills & Deeds 1725-1731
Abstracted and Compiled by Benjamin B. Weisiger, III

p.326 - Deed 12 Sept. 1730 Luke Dalton, yeoman, to John Hodgson, merchant covenants that from date hereof until first arrival at Va. Or Md. And after for 7 years, to serve in such service and employment in which said John Hodgson shall employ him, in return for which, said Hodgson will pay his passage term; and at end of term will pay the usual allowance.
Wit: Pieter Verdvey, Lord Mayor of Dublin
Signed: Jno. Hodgson
Memo: The Ship “Nigtingale” arrived in America Dec. 12, 1730
Signed: John Wilson, Tho: Gonne, (Town Clerk)
Recorded 1st Wed. in Feb. 1730

Charles City County, Virginia Records 1737-1774
With Several 17th Century Fragments
Abstracted and Compiled by Benjamin B. Weisiger III

November Court 1739
The grand jury presented Phillis Goeing, Hester Burton and Elizabeth Thomas for having bastard children.

July Court 1743
Deed of John Goodall and Mary his wife to Edward Goeing recorded

May Court 1746
Deed of William Gunn to John Jackson recorded.

Deed of Edward Goeing to John Shell recorded.

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